Amazon river heavily loaded with sediment. Photo by NASA
Dam construction continues at a fast pace to meet the growing demand for electricity in South America. It is estimated that there are over 400 existing, in construction or planned dams dotting the Amazon river basin. The dangers to the aquatic biodiversity come from an excess buildup of sediments (as seen in the picture above) and toxins like mercury used in gold mining. Dams also destroy natural ecosystems and prevent fish migration essential to reproduction. A two part article on Mongabay details the dangers to the Amazon river as a result of all the existing and future planned dams. If you are a cichlid fan, especially of New World cichlids, these new dams could threaten many of the species you love and also species yet to be discovered and collected.